Science in Dialogue


Course Objective

To gain knowledge of and insight into:
- the basic concepts and issues in understanding science-society
interactions and interfaces, both from a science and technology studies
and communication science perspective
- the nature and course of interpersonal and group communication
processes relevant to the formal and informal dialogue between science
and society
- the nature and form of dialogical science communication, aimed at
reflective learning and mutual understanding

To acquire or improve:
- individual skills for effective interpersonal communication
- individual skills for the design and facilitation of science-society

Course Content

This course invites you to explore the democracy of science and
technology with a particular focus on the communicative aspects of a
fruitful science - society dialogue. Science, technology and innovation
hold a great promise for the progress of our societies. Take for example
the opportunities of nanomedicine for targeted drug delivery or
synthetic biology for renewably energy or the recycling of plastic
waste. At the same time these developments are potentially
controversial. They lead to a variety of questions and concerns related
to risks, benefits and wider moral issues. For example, nanotechnology
may contain risks for health and environment. Synthetic biology may
radically change the nature and meaning of life.

Clearly, advances in science do not always match the needs, desires and
expectations of stakeholders and citizens in society. On the other hand,
parts of society might not always appreciate the nature of scientific
findings and what they have to offer. For a fruitful relationship
between science and society – especially regarding topics that are
potentially controversial – a constructive science-society dialogue is

This course offers advanced lectures on the basic concepts and theories
about the dynamic relationship of science and society, the nature of
societal controversies surrounding science, technology and innovation,
and the basic concepts and issues of dialogical science communication:
communication, learning, dialogue, understanding, controversy, and
democracy. A series of seminars and group assignments present
communicative tools and interaction spaces that can be used to design
and facilitate science-society interactions. Through training workshops
you will focus on improving your individual communication and
facilitation skills.

Teaching Methods

Lectures (14h), Workgroups (28h), Training workshops (24h), Dialogue
presentations (12h), Selfstudy
(remaining hours)

Method of Assessment

Group assignment (50%), Take home exam (30%), Reflection report (20%).
All assignments must be passed (grade > 6).


Is announced on Canvas one month before start of the course

Target Audience

Optional course in the MSc specialization Science Communication

Additional Information

Independence and a cooperative attitude is expected. Attendance to
workgroup/ seminars and
training sessions is mandatory.

General Information

Course Code AM_1002
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. J.F.H. Kupper
Examiner dr. J.F.H. Kupper
Teaching Staff dr. J.F.H. Kupper

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Study Group*, Seminar, Lecture

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: